SuzNews Vol 14.3|Feb 15, 2024

Our Suzuki community offers an encouraging atmosphere to 
nurture every child's full potential and love for music.
News from your National Capital Suzuki School of Music

We've survived the darkest days of winter and are starting to enjoy more daylight again. We're back in the swing of lessons and group classes and are busy preparing for upcoming events.

With Family Day coming up on Monday we hope you all have a chance to spend some time with the people you call Family. And remember sharing music is a great way to spend quality time together -for example - an outing to Burnstown to visit our Silver Sponsor the Neat Cafe for some tasty food and a fun concert!

November Play In

Our Fall group classes ended with our annual Play In in November. This year we brought back the popular post Play In Potluck. Many thanks for our volunteer faculty organizer, Jenna O'Connor, to our parent volunteers, to all potluck contributors, to our students for their lively performances and to our Faculty and collaborative pianist Liko for guiding them.

Thank you Graham Ashford for the photos.

Join us at OPL Greenboro Branch

This Saturday we'll be performing in an outreach event at the Greenboro Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Come have a listen! We'll also have an instrument "petting zoo" for children to have the chance to see some of our music instruments up close.

Groups will be performing from 10:30 to 12:30 at the Greenboro Branch of the OPL, 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr, Ottawa, ON K1T 3P8.

Save the Date - Ensembles Concert

Our annual Ensembles Concert will take place on Saturday, March 2nd, starting at 2 pm

at Bells Corners United Church, 3955 Old Richmond Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5C5.

All SuzukiMusic families and friends are invited. 

Suggested donation: $5

Save the Date - Family and Friends Recital

It's time to start planning for our annual Family and Friends recital, coming up on April 7th, 4:30 PM, at Bells Corners United Church, 3955 Old Richmond Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5C5.

The Family and Friends recital is one of our highlight events, where students can choose a piece to play and perform it with friends and/or family members. Experience is optional - parents can keep the beat with rhythm sticks or a tambourine for example, and students can choose non Suzuki book songs to perform - anything goes!

This is a great time to start talking with your teacher about musical selections to perform.

Whether performing or not, this is a fun event to attend and we hope to see you there.

Thank you Strings and Things

Louise Aubrey and Chantal LeBlanc teamed up in March, 2015 to run Strings and Things together. For years they've set up at our group classes as well as other music schools' events in order to provide families with the strings and things and books and cds and stands and instruments they need for successful learning. Louise is the face of their mobile music boutique and Chantal manages the bookkeeping and website. They have always been generous with providing prizes and gifts for our Viva fundraising events and are going out with a bang this year, providing 3 generous packages for violin, guitar and cello for our Viva silent auction fundraiser.

Both Louise and Chantal remained dedicated to the Ottawa Music community long after their own children had graduated (Louise is the parent of 5 and Chantal is the parent of 2 SuzukiMusic grads). After many years of working with the Ottawa music community they have made the decision to retire.

Louise and Chantal, thank you for your support of our music school, you will be terribly missed and we wish you a very happy retirement.

Louise will be setting up her shop one last time on Saturday February 24th at Canterbury HS during our SuzukiMusic classes. All merchandise is on sale at 50% off. Stop by and stock up and give Louise a warm send off!

Strings and Things

Louise back in 2014

Chantal and Louise in 2017

Here's Louise at her closing sale last week, Feb 2024.

Parent Marketplace - Instruments for Sale

Are you looking for an instrument for your child? Check out our parent marketplace where parents can advertise instruments their children have outgrown.

Click here to take a peek.

Stay Tuned - Silent Auction for Viva!

Its been over a decade since we've had a silent auction fundraiser for Viva Suzuki, our end of year celebration concert. We're busy canvassing for donations for the silent auction.

So far we have 4 AMAZING tickets to Six the Musical, a Broadway Across Canada show

Emma Grant-Zypchen and her quartet are offering a concert

NAC orchestra vouchers

3 amazing gift packs for violin, guitar and cello from Strings and Things...

and more to come!

If you own or know a small business owner who would like to donate merch or gift certicate in exchange for mentions in our newsletters and on social media please contact Susan at [email protected].

Sponsorship Opportunities for 2024-2025 School Year

Do you own a small business or know someone who does? We offer various advertising packages for each school year, beginning with Viva Suzuki in May and ending the following April. We have different packages to suit different budgets. Our bimonthly newsletters go out to a readership of over 300. Please click here for more information or contact Susan at [email protected] if you have questions or would like more information.

Thank you for considering supporting our music school with your advertising.

Upcoming Events

OPL - Greenboro Branch Outreach

Saturday Feb 17th, 10:30AM to 12:30PM

363 Lorry Greenberg Dr, Ottawa, ON K1T 3P8.

Final Day Strings and Things Shop

Saturday Feb 24th, 9AM to 1PM

Canterbury HS, 900 Canterbury Ave, Ottawa, ON K1G 3A7

Ensemble Concert

Saturday, March 2nd, 2 pm

Bells Corners United Church, 3955 Old Richmond Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5C5.

March Break

No classes at Canterbury from March 9 to 30th

No private lessons week of March 10th

Family and Friends Recital

Sunday April 7th, 4:30 PM,

Bells Corners United Church, 3955 Old Richmond Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5C5.

Parent Education Corner

Play It Again, Sam—How to Implement Listening in Home Practice

by Jennifer Burton

There are two kinds of listening as I have observed. One is passive listening where you just have the CD going on in the room quietly in the background. The other is active listening. Active listening can be clapping to the pulse of the music, it can be tapping your foot, it can be dancing around the room. For older students you can follow along on the page to see where the various artists are shifting or how they use vibrato, how the expression is occurring with their intensity of crescendos.

What are some things you can do on a daily basis to make your child learn easier

One is to listen whenever possible.

When do we listen? I would suggest listening whenever the child is in the home environment. Have the CD going on when they get up in the morning, put it on quietly during breakfast, all the times when they come home from school, anytime they are in the home. You could provide a CD in their room if that is where they do some quiet playing. You could have a CD player in the den, you could have one in the kitchen. One family put the CD player in the pool area and listened to music while kids were in the pool. The neighbors were saying, “I really like that one, play that one again.”

When do we listen? Anytime we can.

One personal testimony I have for my own experience when I was at grad school here at Stevens Point, I had a full student load, I had a part time job, and I did not have time to listen. I said to Ms. Aber “I already know how to read, I don’t need to memorize.” She looked at me with that wonderful gaze of hers and said “You will listen, and you will memorize.“ And I thought, “Oh boy, now I have to memorize.” Well, this ol’ girl memorized ten books in a year and a summer by listening overnight. It really happened. I put the cassette player on real softly on an endless loop and by golly, I listened and I memorized that amount of material, so it is possible.

A parent from MN, we will call her Julie, has several kids, and when she heard me share this testimony with her, she tried it out. This is what she said. “I am especially glad you mentioned the night listening because it is difficult for us to carve out time during the day. Music practice all morning with my homeschooled kids and school work all afternoon. Before I heard you talk at the Stevens Point Institute I tried to remember to play their Cds while they ate breakfast, but it was hit or miss. Thus the night listening was the perfect solution for us.”

Where do we listen? The car, the van, the house. In Dr. Suzuki’s time, he would strap a cassette recorder on the child’s back. So this idea of having listening wherever the child was, is not new, and it works, that is the powerful thing about it.

How often do we listen? As often as possible, we just cannot listen too much. In fact, I would suggest that people make copies of their CD or buy several copies or download them off the internet. Put them on your iPad, your iPhone’s, wherever you can have the music around you and as often as possible. 

What do you listen to? Well of course the Suzuki CD’s, but I would recommend that you enrich your child’s listening. Joanne Bath, when she starts her students in North Carolina, she has them buy all ten volumes and has them listen to all those CD’s even as a Pre-twinkler. 

My parents often say, “Well what else can we listen to? Does it have to be the Suzuki CD?” (*See Note)

Some other suggestions would be Julia Fischer with her wonderful Bach concertos. Hilary Hahn with the Mozart Violin Sonatas. Joshua Bell, anything he records is always heart rendering. He has one CD called the Romance of the Violin that is very wonderful. Andrew Manze’s Handel Violin Sonatas. My personal favorite is Izhak Perlman. I love how he plays from his heart. His Cinema Serenade is really a wonderful addition to any listening library. For bedtime listening Beethoven at Bedtime is a great CD, Vivaldi Adagios, Linda Ronstadt’s CD “Dedicated to the One I Love” has soothing wonderful pieces. Yes, supplementary listening is good and it is valuable and it gives everyone in the family and in the household something to listen to other than the Suzuki CD’s and that is fine. 

Who’s responsibility is it for listening? I believe it is the parent’s responsibility. It is the number one thing you can do to help your child learn quickly and fast and easier. Imagine if you can avoid having your child unlearn pieces that they have played incorrectly because they don’t hear it in their heads. If they are listening enough the students can self correct and save time and learn easier and quicker. Teenagers can take additional responsibility by listening on their iPads, MP3 players, they like to do that, it’s where they are and that can be their job to load their Suzuki Cd’s onto their gizmos, iPhones, and other stuff. 

So that brings us to listening equipment. There is a lot of stuff out there today. You can buy various apps for your devices, like The Amazing Slow Downer is a great app to help students so they can hear the piece at a slower tempo and can play along with it. The Music Trainer for Mac or iPhone is another one. Audacity is a free app for computers. Smart Music is a subscription you can get that includes all of the Suzuki pieces and repertoire and it has additional ear training exercises. This does come with a paid subscription, but it is excellent, it is worth it. 

Another little warning I would recommend is to keep listening, even when you are a fine, fine reader. The very first time we play something when we are reading it. It creates an indelible track inside of our brain and it is like a template that you have and if you learn it incorrectly it is very difficult to undo some of that. Teenagers and more advanced players, please continue your listening and also find different sources of your advanced pieces to hear different interpretations and you can watch along with your music and you can see how one artist does a passage and compare it with another one, and then decide for yourself which one you like the best. 

In conclusion, let’s go back to the family from MN, Julie’s family. This is what she said about night listening. “The bottom line is, it’s making a difference in all three of my children. My oldest daughter Isabelle,7, listens to her violin and piano Suzuki repertoire books, nine books total, plus supplemental music all night long. Hours of classical music, and once the cycle ends it repeats, which means ten hours of listening every night. She has a great ear and she learns pieces very quickly, especially the violin pieces. She didn’t even need the music to learn the variation of Long, Long Ago in book two. I just gave her the starting note and she took off. Finally, before I started night listening I felt like I was tugging my son Daniel through quick sand trying to help him make progress on Twinkle. He insisted on playing an instrument like his older sister, but it was not an easy road for him like it had been with her, but now he does a beautiful job with Twinkle and he is a third of the way through book one repertoire. Yes, he is a year older, but I think the night listening contributed to this turnaround.”

I hope these ideas give you a chance of trying some new ways of listening in your home, and explore the value of sensitive loving human beings through listening. 

*Note: The SAA does not endorse specific recordings (besides the standard Suzuki repertoire) for student listening, but it does encourage immersion and education in classical and orchestral instrumental music.

Jennifer Burton has been teaching Suzuki violin lessons since 1977 and recently retired from the Aber Suzuki Center in Stevens Point, where she received her Masters Degree with Suzuki Emphasis with Margery Aber and taught for 24 years. She served three-year term on the Suzuki Association of the Americas Board from 1996-1999. In 2006, she published Sharpen Your Tools, a practice companion for Suzuki parents and teachers. She has been a violin clinician at 200 workshops and institutes across the U.S. and has served as President of the North Texas Suzuki Association (NTSA) and the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin (SAW). In 2014, Jenny received the SAW Sensei Award for Leadership and Caring and was given the Distinguished Service Award from the NTSA in 2005.

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